Taking Care of Business

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In challenging business environments it can sometimes feel like more time is spent on administration rather than creating art – are there other business models and options CACD organisations can explore? The following article is by Westpac Social Sector Banking (www.westpac.com.au/socialsector), was and originally published by ProBono Australia

Business Model Innovation tips for not-for-profits

In a competitive environment with limited support from government and donors, the for-purpose sector must embrace a business model that prioritises cash flow, efficiency, flexibility, and innovation.

Innovation, whether small, incremental or large, is about change. Business model innovation within an organisation is a process that:

  1. Clarifies the value proposition – what the organisation offers to individuals or society
  2. Leverages its people, technology, facilities and resources to deliver value
  3. Defines the activities and processes needed to deliver the mission – planning, development, marketing, etc; and
  4. Produces a revenue model – the budget an organisation needs to support its mission

Success in business model innovation is a journey across the following stages:

Stage 1 – Opportunity identification

Stage 2 – Adaption of ideas into business models

Stage 3 – Testing the business model

Stage 4 – Scaling, learning and repeating


Top 8 tips for Business Model Innovation

Stage 1 – Opportunity identification

Tip 1 – Reframe the problem around a broader objective. Think about the true reasons your organisation needs to exist.

Tip 2 – Give your supporters, e.g. employees or volunteers, the opportunity to submit and collaborate on ideas to help increase efficiencies in processes, reduce costs, and use resources more effectively.

Stage 2 – Adaption of ideas into business models

Tip 3 – Align your revenue with sustainable growth plans

Tip 4 – Partner with organisations that have the resources and shared values to create the positive change you seek.

Stage 3 – Testing the business model

Tip 5 – Small is beautiful. Break your idea into small, manageable actions and take action according to specific, achievable, realistic goals

Tip 6 – Creating something new requires testing and adapting. Experimentation will help your organisation get more information, test the market, and build momentum for the big master plan.

Stage 4 – Scaling, learning and repeating

Tip 7 – Design for scale. Organisations can ensure scalability by incorporating elements like flexible cost models.

Tip 8 – Build a culture of flexibility. Build your organisation’s agility to adapt can help your organisation thrive, not just survive, in a dynamic environment.


Key elements of successful corporate partnerships


#1   Shared Values

A strong partnership should be built on a shared passion for a social need.

 #2   A Trusting Relationship

Developed through open and honest communication – is the foundation of a strong and enduring relationship between a corporate and a community organisation.

 #3   Value Creation

Corporates may be looking to give back to their customers, improve staff satisfaction, or reinforce corporate values, and a community organisation may be looking for funding, resources, or access to expertise.

 #4   A Continuing Narrative

In forming a partnership, you are agreeing to join your stories and write a shared narrative.  Like any good story, yours needs to advance, achieve something, and be memorable.


Content courtesy of Westpac Social Sector Banking (www.westpac.com.au/socialsector), and originally published by ProBono Australia.